Maarten Herman van Gent (born 22 March 1947 in Rotterdam, Netherlands) is a Dutch basketball coach, manager, scout and businessman.
He was the first Dutch full time basketball coach and the only Dutch coach,who won the championship in three different countries.
Van Gent started playing basketball at age 17. He also played korfball and soccer in college. After serving in the Royal Netherlands Army 1966. He became a physical education teacher after he finished CIOS at Overveen.In 1970, at age 23, van Gent started coaching basketball teams. The first team was AMVJ Rotterdam. After five years with the team he started coaching Frisol Rowic in Dordrecht. In 1982 he won the Dutch Championship with Nationale Nederlanden Donar. From 1984 to 1990 van Gent coached in Belgium and won the Belgian Championship and national cup in 1985 with Sunair Oostende. He quit coaching in 1991 after he was fired from Houthalen basketball team.
In 1992 he moved to Estonia and started working as a basketball agent for Globe Sports Management in Europe. In 1996 he started coaching again, this time in Estonia. He won the Estonian Championship in 1996 with Tallinna Kalev. From 1997–1999 he was also the coach of the Estonia national basketball team. From 2000–2004 he coached Ehitustööriist and the Netherlands national basketball team. In 2005 he again quit coaching and concentrated on business and managing. He also worked for three years as a scout for the NBA team the New York Knicks.
My name is Maarten Herman van Gent and I am Dutch.
I live in Estonia in the village of Porkuni..
I was born on March 22, 1947 in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
I started to play basketball in 1960 at high school.My father, who was a physical education teacher at a high school in Rotterdam did not allow me to play this sport.
He was one of the first teachers in 1947, who was teaching basketball at school in the Netherlands.
The sport is ok, he said, but the organization is terrible.I started to play korfbal instead.
This is a typical Dutch sport with also a basket but without back board.
This game is played outside on a grass court with twelve people (six men and six women)Me in 1947When I reached the age of 18Years later I started to play for a basketball club named “BOB Oud Beyerland”.
Two years later I was playing for a team in Rotterdam, named “Transol RZ”.
Besides basketball, I was playing korfbal, soccer, and sailing at the same period
In all these sports, besides soccer, I was acting on the highest level in the Netherlands.
My study at high school was very poor, except for sports of course!
In 1968 after serving in the Dutch army, I started to study to become a sports teacher.
In 1970 I finished my study and the first job was in in a prison as a physical education teacher.At the same time I became a basketball coach at the lowest level
in Rotterdam with the team of AMVJ Rotterdam.I coached this team for five seasons.
They moved up three times to a higher level.
Finally they were one division under the top.
This was the limit, because other teams bought the best players away.
Me coaching AMVJ Rotterdan 1970
In 1975 I started to coach the team of Frisol Rowic in Dordrecht.
This team played also one level under the top, but they had a sponsor who wanted to move up.
The fist season was a disaster!
The second season, I decided to play with very young players, starting with the age of 16 years old.
We barely stayed in the league, but the season later we won the championship without losing a single game
and moved to the top division.Frisol Rowic in 1976.I stayed with this team for two seasons more.
But the same thing happened as before with the AMVJ team.
More rich teams started to contract our best players.
During the third season in this period with Frisol Rowic
I decided to quit my job as a physical education teacher and only to focus on basketball coaching.
I became the first professional basketball coach in the Netherlands basketball history!In 1980 I became the coach the team of “Nationale Nederlanden Donar” in Groningen.
This team had a top sponsor for already eight years, but they never won the championship of the Netherlands.
The first season again was a disaster!
The team reached the fifth place in the competition.
The second season after changing seven players we won the championship.
Finally after twelve years of coaching I reached my goal to win the championship of the Netherlands.In 1983 I went to one of the weakest team in the Netherlands named” Hatrans Haaksbergen”.The first season the we reached the second place in the competition.
The following season was very short for me, because I left the team after having a disagreement with the president,
who also was the sponsor.I finished that season with my old team in Rotterdam, where one of my friends was the sponsor and president.
This team was at that time in last place and my job was to try to keep it in the league.
However they had 8 more losses than the team in front of them.
We almost managed!
In the final game however, our American player was thrown a klomp, (a typical Dutch wooden shoe) , out of the crowd,
He started to fight with the klomp thrower and he was suspended for the rest of the game and we lost!!
End of the story!.The next team in 1984 was in Belgium and named “Sunair Oostende”.This team won the championship and the national cup of Belgium, without losing one game!!However, I found this job too easy and I went to Hellas in Gent also in Belgium.
I stayed there for three seasons.
The team was a mediocre team.
But it was a lot of fun, because the president was doing everything to improve his team.
With this team we went in 1987 to Estonia to play a tournament in the city of Tallinn in the Soviet Union.
We won this tournament!
Against very strong teams like Tallinn, Riga, St Petersburg and Kaunas, all Soviet teams that time.In 1988 I went back to Sunair Oostende and we won the national cup that season
.Coaching sunair 1989In 1989 I went to Macabbi Brussel for half a season.
I had made a deal with this club, that I only would
coach for bonuses for winning games.
Half the season the team was in first place,but than there was no more money left to pay me.
Again I had to end a job!In 1990 I went back to Holland to coach.
I was still living in Oostende in Belgium and I had to drive every day 500 Kilometers by car.
The team I coached in Holland was named Weert in the city of Weert.
This season was nothing special!
We finished in third place.
The start of the next season was a disaster!
There were no players and decided to work only on defense in the pre season games.
The manager of the team did not like this.
They fired me because they wanted me to play zone defense..
They never had seen this kind of defense before, except in the USA in college basketball.In 1991 I coached again in Belgium.
The name of the team was Houthalen and played in the highest division.
Half the season I was fired, after a fist fight with a supporter and a losing game.
Than I decided to quit basketball coaching.
I did not like to be told how to coach.
And by people that did not know anything about basketball and were also 20 years younger that me.In 1992 I moved to Estonia.
I worked as a basketball agent for Globe Sports Management in Europe
and I spend most of my time on my sailing boat in Greece and later in Spain.
I only coached in 1995 the team from Houthalen for two games more
They asked me to coach two games for keeping them in the highest division.
I think that these games were my best coached games ever.
We won both games by 30 points difference!!In 1996 I coached the former championship team of the Soviet Union named
and the national team of Estonia
We won the championship in Estonia in the first season.
I wanted to quit coaching again
But the board managed to change my mind
and I coached another season.
We did very well in the European Saporta cup.
We reached the second place in our division after Milan.
And again I quit the coaching in 1998.In 2000 I wrote an article on the internet site from Telebasket about the basketball in Estonia.
I wrote that because of the past history, nobody is interested in the future!
In the old Soviet Union there was communism and the future was not important.
The basketball teams in the new republic of Estonia were only interested in old players
and they have no trust in the younger players!,
Youngest team in the competition Ehitustooriist/ Audentes University in Estonia in 2003- 2004.
One of the coaches of a junior team in Estonia, who read the article,
asked me to help him out with coaching his team.
So, I started coaching and practicing again.
but this time it did cost me money instead of earning money!!
I sponsored and practiced the team for three seasons until April 2 2003.
The team was supposed to finish last place, however they finished 7th out of 9 with ten wins
I also coached the national basketball team of the Netherlands from October 2001 until February 2003
Dutch national team in Poland 2002
This team is always in problems!
The Dutch players who are playing in other European countries are never available.
The foreign club teams don’t let them go because they are afraid of injuries during these national team games.
It means that you have to recruit players only from the Dutch competition.
This local competition consist mainly out of foreign players
You cannot make a very strong team with bench players from the Dutch competition!
I gave two clinics. One in 2005 and one in 2008.
First one was in China Shanghai for Adidas and the NBA
Shanghai clinic August 2005. Showing hedging!
Abuja Nigeria 2008.
In 2008 I replaced the coach of Rotterdam for a few months. In 2010 I replaced the coach for a few weeks at Den Bosch in the Netherlands.